Dark Rituals: steeped in the spirit of DIY black metal and creativity under trying circumstances

Xarkrinur, Dark Rituals, Psalm 88, cassette Psalm002 (2014)

From Psalm 88, the new sub-label established by Acephale Winter Productions, comes this curious novelty. Xarkrinur is a solo digital black metal project by a 14 or 15-year-old boy calling himself Xyklen who lives in Dhaka, in Bangladesh and “Dark Rituals’ is the debut album. Running at 18 minutes in total, with very modest and minimal artwork to boot, the tape iss certainly worth a small review if only to get a glimpse of how inventive some people in some of the more underprivileged parts of the world can be to express their love of black metal.

The music is not varied and falls into two camps. First track “Forest of Mist” and the title piece represent one side of Xarkrinur: rapid-fire, cheap-sounding tinny and brittle imitation tremolo guitar shredding and rubbery percussion accompanying gravelly mechanical vocals shat by an old IBM mainframe computer afflicted with internal pill anti fungal rot. The title piece is slightly more animated than “Forest of Mist” with slightly more organic chant and a definite hacking industrial beat. The other side of Xarkrinur is more steamy bass-heavy music. “When Angels Cry” features a mechanical looping trot and whispery voice: structurally monotonous, it does sound amateurish. The final long track, taking up the whole B-side of the tape, is a bleary depressive BM work of simple droning loop, distorted reverb wobble and slack percussion. Concentrate on the background texture and you will find it interesting and hypnotic; over the course of the track, the wobble background, distorted electro-industrial in sound and texture, is very entrancing.

If it had been billed as blackened industrial, this tape might have had a higher profile. As it is, because all the music, black metal in style and attitude though it be, was done entirely with digital electronics, it is not completely accepted in various metal and black metal circles. Apart from that issue which is certain to become a major one as more people try to recreate the black metal sound and attitude using non-metal instrumentation and techniques, this little tape definitely shows black metal and depressive doom influences on one side and industrial ambient trance on the other. By no means is this release great but it’s steeped in the spirit of lo-fi DIY punk and black metal, and our man Xyklen (well he will be once he’s old enough to get his driving licence and voter’s card) shows much ingenuity in using crappy electronics to create work that can be surprisingly atmospheric and stylistically striking.

Contact: Psalm 88